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Ask Max: OS 9 vs. Classic

Asked on 05/26/2006:

My husband is locked into using survey software that runs on OS 9 and was sold off to another company who dropped the line. If he were to buy a G5 iMac, would he be able to boot up in OS 9.2? Classic may not be the answer for him, as he needs to be able to run his plotter and printer while in OS 9. I am not sure if he could do this in Classic. Up to now, he has not even installed OS X.

Is Classic even shipping with the new OS 10.4.2 in the G5's? Thanks for any light you might be able to shed on this situation.


Macs introduced after the beginning of 2003 will not boot into Mac OS 9. They are OS X computers only and will only run OS 9 programs through the OS 9 emulator called Classic, which is part of OS X. A new iMac G5 will still come with Classic on discs but it will not be installed. However, you are right to wonder if your husband's survey software will work in Classic. Some software does not run in Classic at all, or runs poorly, although other programs work well. See if you can find a friend's computer with OS X and Classic to test it on. If it will run in Classic then you are just in time. As Apple switches all Macs to Intel processors your options to run OS 9 applications are disappearing. Intel-based Macs will not run Classic at all. Find the fastest PowerPC based system that will run that application because this will be the last upgrade for your husband's application. Don't fear if Classic doesn't work for you, PowerMax still has many OS 9 booting computers just for people in your husband's position.

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